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Man spikes coffee with grill cleaner during domestic quarrel, police say

Jesus Ceballos is accused of pouring a degreasing agent into a woman’s cup of coffee following an argument; she realized the drink was tainted before taking a sip.

WYOMING, Mich. — A domestic argument took a sinister turn when one of the participants spiked a cup of coffee with a solvent normally used to clean ovens and grills, police said.

Jesus R. Ceballos is charged with poisoning, a 15-year felony. His intended target told police she discovered the chemical in her coffee prior to taking a sip. Ceballos was arrested the same day.

It happened March 31 at a home on Denwood Avenue SW near Burton Street in Wyoming.

“It started out as a domestic incident; a verbal domestic,’’ Wyoming police Lt. Eric Wiler said. “During the argument, the female had poured herself a cup of coffee and walked away from it.’’

That is when police say Ceballos added a high-strength cleaning chemical to the woman’s coffee. Court records indicate it was an oven/grill cleaner.

The woman told police Ceballos, the father of her children, poured the solvent into her coffee when she left it unattended. She discovered the coffee had been spiked prior to taking a sip.

Ceballos “later admitted to pouring the chemical into the coffee,’’ police wrote in a probable cause affidavit.

The criminal charge says Ceballos “did willfully mingle cleaning chemicals, a poison or harmful substance with a drink while knowing or having reason to know that the drink may be ingested.’’

Poisoning food/drink/medicine/water supply is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“If ingested, this substance would be expected to cause a person injury,’’ a Wyoming police officer wrote in court documents.

A Wyoming judge this week allowed Ceballos to get out of the Kent County Jail on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. He has been locked up for nearly five months.

Ceballos, 45, has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 9 in Wyoming District Court.

Defense attorney Michael Liquigli said Ceballos maintains his innocence and is weighing his options as the case works its way through the judicial system.

The felony poison charge was last used in Kent County for a 2018 case in which a Rockford woman used prescription medication to spike her housemate’s jar of sun tea.  

Maria P. Mirque eventually pleaded no contest to a lesser felony. A judge sentenced her to 4½ months in jail, placed her on probation for three years and ordered that she perform 200 hours of community service.

“It is a rare charge; not something that gets charged very often,’’ Wiler said. “In my career I can think of only one other time it’s been charged from our department.’’

RELATED: Rockford woman accused of spiking roommate’s tea with prescription drugs

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